Trials Triumphs Book Review. An old gem from 2014, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumphs, is one of the several best-sellers by Ryan Holiday. Authored on the themes of stoicism, we say a gem because of the memorable hype the book created once it was out in the bookstores.
What does Ryan Holiday concoct in his manuscript, and more than half a decade later, why does it still matter more than ever?
Let’s take a look.
The title of the book is inspired by a quote from the great Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor. Holiday, our beloved author, takes on the concept of this text on how it matters to the way we react to the challenges that block our path to growth and success.
Using the learnings of stoicism, the author has sectioned the book into Action, Will, and Perception.
A deeply researched book, it takes into account historical figures who were not only money making entrepreneurs but those who were politicians, athletes, pioneers, etc.
The Obstacle Is the Way is a fairly short book, which makes it easy as a quick and concise read, though it does not miss the crucial details the author is trying to deliver.
When he talks about the processes, the author has used instances of tasks such as rehearsing plays, strategizing a game, working out, etc. It is the small moves that matter, the narrow window of what is working for you, no matter how much you think it is meaningless.
One of the interesting chapters is about dealing with negativity, which he explores Premortem. Instead of focusing on why something is likely to fail if one focuses on what would make it feel they are a step ahead in keeping it from falling apart. This is an excellent lesson for corporate teams.
To say that The Obstacle Is the Way is about simply being objective is an understatement. Passion evoking speeches, and the odds in your favor have little to do with this philosophy. The text explores our choices in how we chose to think in response to a situation.
In a world where we are bombarded continuously with limitations but also a high bar for success, and the imminent if they can do it why can’t you, in every aspect of life, using stoicism makes a lot of sense. Holiday calls it the way to being productive in life, not just work.
Dwelling on the standard response of complaining or being upset about something does very little for us. What we do not realize is also shaping our view of the opportunities that are in our control.
If you are prepared for a shift in the way you view life, this is the book for you.
The prose reminds one of the concepts of courage. It is not that we are sure we will persevere in the end, but that we try regardless. It is our bold actions that define us, the opportunities that we decide to take even if we don’t know if we will emerge on the other side victorious. If that is not life, then, I ask you, what is?
The Obstacle Is the Way is listed under the category of self-help book genre. And sure it has transformed the perception of many readers and even changed lives, but that does not take away the fact that it is a fascinating read. I think that calling it a self-help book is a bit of a stretch, it is more about philosophy and life.
The mind of Ryan Holiday is a refreshing stroll. Not because he wrote something that is pure innovation. But because it has been a while since someone communicated a text in a manner the author has.
Ryan Holiday is fast becoming known as an expert on stoic philosophy, having already published three best-sellers, which were distributed in 30 languages.
It is essential to mention here how the concept of stoicism is wrongly used in modern English. Stoic is considered something that leaves out emotion, but that is not what the philosophy is centered around.
While one may notice that it uses as minimal emotions and impulses as possible as it is about being real with yourself and reviewing the situation and then taking appropriate action.
Internalizing this insightful philosophy early on in life gives you an easy way out to finding your process whenever you are anxious or faced with uncertainty. It saves a lot of stress and angst in the future and allows you to be more sure of yourself.
Reading some of the feedback on the book, people are talking about how they knew about the philosophy but were pleasantly surprised by the revelation that Ryan Holiday weaves so beautifully with helpful modern-day examples.
The Obstacle Is the Way is not available in ebook or audiobook form on Amazon. But you can purchase a hardcover copy of the book for $22.50.
The Obstacle Is the Way is not not an inspiring read.
It is a book about a philosophical method that, according to our foremost thinker and intellectual, was tried and tested by some of the most illustrious and successful figures in modern history, including Steve Jobs, John Rockefeller, Amelia Earhart, etc.
But six years after its publishing, readers have been talking about how the book has helped them seize control of what they can, where they have woken up from a demoralized rut.
The book is also a guide of a way of enlightening oneself more about the philosophy behind stoicism.
There is a place for philosophy in the smallest things we do, and The Obstacle Is the Way just reminded us of that.
What do we love about this book, unlike other self-help books and texts that discuss ancient greek philosophical topics, The Obstacle Is the Way does not make you read it and think, it makes you do.